Choral Top 10: Dr. Rene Clausen

by Sam Kjellberg, Minnesota Public Radio
April 30, 2013

ST. PAUL, Minn. — As part of our Voices of Spring Choral Month, we've asked prominent voices in the choral community to tell us their top 10 choral pieces so we could share them with you!

We will finish our Choral Top 10 features with another local legend, one of our finest - Dr. Rene Clausen.

Dr. Clausen needs practically no introduction here in Minnesota. As a conductor, composer, and educator, Dr. Clausen has led ensembles all over the globe, composed for some of the top classical musicians in the world, and has had his music presented on a Grammy Award winning album recorded by the Kansas City Chorale (Charles Bruffy, conductor) - Life and Breath: Choral Works by Rene Clausen.

Dr. Clausen was trained at Saint Olaf College and received his MM and DMA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Before his appointment as conductor of the famed Concordia Choir at Concordia College, Moorhead he was a professor at West Texas State University and Wichita State University.

He is not only responsible for conducting the Concordia Choir, his own composition commissions, and training the young choral educators studying at Concordia, but he is also the Artistic Director of the world-renowned Concordia College Christmas Concerts, an annual Christmas celebration on a massive artistic and logistical scale.

The concerts consist of over 400 singers, a 90-piece orchestra, and an enormous mural backdrop that gives the Concordia Christmas Concerts its special touch. Under his artistic direction the 2009 Christmas concert, "Christmas at Concordia: Journey to Bethlehem" won a 2010 Emmy Award.

His Choral Top 10 is full of gold nuggets in the choral repertoire, many of them he has conducted...well, probably most of them. Jot these down, take a listen, and enjoy.

And if you didn't notice, Dr. Clausen's piece "Peace I Leave With You" was amongst the top of our own Choral Countdown. Stay tuned for the top 25 pieces, voted by you, our listeners!

Not in any order and may change from day to day...

1. Johann Sebastian Bach: St. Matthew Passion

2. Johann Sebastian Bach: Mass in B minor

3. Johann Sebastian Bach: Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied

4. Johannes Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem

5. Benjamin Britten: War Requiem

6. Sergei Rachmaninoff: Vespers

7. Krzysztof Penderecki: Agnus Dei

8. Henryk Gorecki: Totus Tuus

9. Frank Martin: Mass for Double Choir

10.Alexander Gretchaninoff: Our Father

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